ISO standard for safe bunkering of LNG ships
The clear need to standardise LNG bunkering operations for all stakeholders at the international level has finally been recognised in a new ISO standard set up to ensure LNG-fuelled vessels can bunker in a safe and sustainable way.
ISO 20519, Ships and marine technology – Specification for bunkering of liquefied natural gas fuelled vessels, will help operators select vessel fuel providers that meet defined safety and fuel quality standards.
“The requirements of ISO 20519 can be incorporated as a management objective into existing management programmes and provide verifiable compliance,” explained Steve O’Malley, chair of technical committee ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology, subcommittee SC 11, Intermodal and short sea shipping, and Convener of TC 8 working group WG 8, that developed the standard.
This is important, he said, because “the requirement to comply with ISO standards is often incorporated into business contracts and may also be referenced by local regulations.”
The working group that developed ISO 20519 included specialists from the maritime industry, equipment manufacturers, the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), trading companies, class societies, international registries and the US Coast Guard.
This sharing of knowledge was important to produce a standard that was both practical and would promote safety during LNG bunkering operations.
ISO 20519 contains requirements that are not covered by the IGC Code, the prevailing international code for the safe carriage by sea of liquefied gases in bulk. It includes the following items:
- Hardware: liquid and vapour transfer systems
- Operational procedures
- Requirement for the LNG provider to provide an LNG bunker delivery note
- Training and qualifications of personnel involved
- Requirements for LNG facilities to meet applicable ISO standards and local codes
Because the use of LNG as a vessel fuel is relatively new, the standard will need to be brought up to date periodically to incorporate lessons learned over time and technological changes.
To facilitate this, a group has been created to track LNG bunkering incidents and help identify when the standard should be updated.
ISO 20519:2017 was produced at the request of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the European Commission and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO).